Our mission? To meet instagram photographer, Tweeter and former blogger Tara Bradford Holmes (do you remember her "Paris Parfait"? You can still find it here and though she no longer blogs, the old posts are worth catching up on. Or check out the wonderful images this talented artist shares on Instagram.)
We finally connected on one of the Paris bridges and it was off for a walk past bouquinistes and Paris color!
Well, you can guess what stopped Rick dead in his tracks!
Our first destination was the Institut de monde Arabe or Arab World Institute, on the Left Bank. Created with the cooperation of 18 Arab countries and France, the purpose of the Institut was to disseminate information about the Arab world and its cultural and spiritual values. It includes a museum which we didn't have time to see, but the building was terrific enough.
The award-winning design is wildly contemporary and rectangular. But it is also a dynamic structure. Geometric shapes move based on light and heat from the sun.
The motors that control the openings are targeted from the sun and the spaces and shadows are changed based on how the light moves.
The light was pretty stable while we were there and we didn't get to see the panels move -- I wish we had. But just the building itself was pretty magnificent -- elegant and intriguing. I was glad Tara had suggested it.
Then it was on to lunch -- a salad Nicoise was perfect -- and equally perfect, time to catch up with an old friend. We were lucky enough to get to know Tara and her late and wonderful husband David in person on previous visits. When I first met her, she lived in France. Then Amsterdam. Then England and now she is back in France. It was wonderful to catch up on her life story over the past months.
We bid farewell to Tara and headed off on our destination -- Sennelier art store. But first we stopped for a quick look at Shakespeare and Company.
This has long been a spot I enjoy -- right by the Seine. Its history is storied (pun only partially intended) and you can read more about it here.
Or, right below!
But on the way we had to stop at Parc Vert Galant, which Vivian Swift featured in her beautiful book "Gardens of Awe and Folly."
And it was just about perfect timing. When you feet are in dire need of a rest, nothing is better than a park bench, near a river, under shaded trees in changing shades of gold.
Vivian is one of my favorite illustrators. This is the guardien's hut in the Parc Vert Galant.
OK -- here's her interpretation in Gardens of Awe and Folly!
This lovely little park sits on the very tip of the Ile de la Cite and is a "peninsula" surrounded by the Seine.
Not wanting to be wimpy (and also not finding the right bus), this spot couldn't have appeared at a better time. We had been walking and the ankle and foot were beginning to scream. So to contemplate the beauty of this lovely spot and rest a bit was welcome indeed. (Check out Vivian's book for a more detailed look at this lovely wooded park -- she chronicles the background of it well (along with many others around the world!)
But then it was back to hoofing it to Sennelier, the famed art store and one I've wanted to visit ever since I first heard about it.
If I weighed twenty pounds more, I wouldn't have fit in the aisles.
I couldn't even get wide enough to get a good photo!
Three floors of very narrow spaces -- and every single one crammed to the gills with the most beautiful art supplies! Watercolors, oils, ink, pastels, journals, pencils... everything!
The store itself opened in 1887 and presumably he created colors for the Impressionist painters of the day.
And no, I didn't get out unscathed! Although I didn't buy Golden here. I can get that at home!
You'll find color charts and historical photos on the walls...
...but the watercolors were behind the counter! I liked the doodle pages from customers!
Rick waited patiently which was a good thing because there wasn't really a lot of room for him in the store, between lots of customers and narrow spaces! (I know, he doesn't look that patient there, but he really was a champ!)
We worked our way back to the hotel, enjoying one nice view after another...
...until we were able to find a bus!
But you have to admit, even if one is in pain, it is far better to be in pain in Paris than, say, the local mall.
After a break at our hotel, we set out for dinner at friends of Jerry's. I don't have photos of this special evening at their beautiful apartment. I wish I did, for it was one of those warm, happy, friendly evenings were one felt so divinely content just to be in the presence of terrific people. I will leave you with one of my favorite photos of the day.
Next time: Paris' biggest street party!